First article:

October 14th is the last day voter registrations will be accepted for the upcoming general election (N.J.S.A. 19:31-6).

Voter registration forms for every county in English, Spanish, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, and Gujarati can be found at:

Every county Office of Elections and/or Voters Registration will be open until 9 p.m. on Oct. 14th. New Jersey residents, if you are not sure if you are registered or need any voter information, visit : ; or call the NJ 24 hour voter assistance hotline at: 1-877-658-6837 (NJVOTER) / TTD/TTY 1-800-292-0039. You should immediately call the hotline if you encounter any problems accessing or casting your vote at your local polling place.

In NJ, any voter can now vote by Absentee Ballot for any election. You do not need a reason to vote by Absentee Ballot. A voter may apply for an absentee ballot by completing an Absentee Ballot Application (below). You can mail it or hand deliver it to your County Clerk but, it has to be received by 3:00 p.m. , the day before the election. The County Clerk will not accept faxed copies because an original signature is required.

When you receive your absentee ballot be sure you complete it accurately and that the return address for your county clerk is listed accurately. If the ballot is not signed or completed and addressed properly, your vote will not be counted.

Absentee Ballot Application (24k pdf) Solicitud De Boleta De Votación Un Cidudadano Ausente (24k pdf)

Please note: On Election Day, voters should not wear clothing or accessories that endorses any candidate to the polling place.

Next article:

With the expectation of a very large turnout, the NJ Division of Elections is seeking New Jersey citizens to assist in this November’s election by serving as poll workers. Poll workers receive $200 for the day of service. Training is required and will be provided to candidates. If you are interested, please go to: and click on your county for information on how to apply or call 609-292-3760.

Next article:

CBVI sponsored, AccessTech, Computer Training Classes

Did you know that you can learn to use a computer even if you are blind or visually impaired? AccessTech classes are fun and free-of-charge. Little or no computer experience is needed!

Learn to: Send and receive e-mail ; Surf the Web; Play easy-to-use games on the Internet


Learn to Use: The latest assistive technology hardware and/or software ; Screen readers, such as JAWS For Windows; Screen magnifiers, such as ZoomText.

The training is provided by DeWitt & Associates at public libraries and other community facilities throughout the state. For more information: 877-447-6500 ext. 227 or e-mail:

Next article:

September marks the anniversary of one of the most inspirational moments in sports history: Jim Abbott’s no-hitter. In 1993 the world stopped and took notice of this talented one-handed pitcher. Now, 15 years later, Jim is partnering with the Department of Labor to raise awareness about the talents of people with disabilities. In Jim’s view, "It’s similar to how coaches looked at me when I was growing up, to see what I could do and not what I couldn’t."

Jim is now the spokesperson for the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy's (ODEP) new PITCH Campaign - Proving Individuals with Talent Can Help. Along with ODEP, Jim is helping to spread the word about the value that people with disabilities can bring to the workplace. Learn more about PITCH, and get answers to questions about hiring people with disabilities and how parents can help put their children on the path to future employment at the following link:

Next article:

The federal Computer/Electronics Accomodations Program's WSM Initiative provides needs assessment, assistive technology, and training for wounded service members and disabled veterans throughout all phases of their recovery and the transition to employment. All services are provided free of charge. For more information about the CAP WSM Initiative, request a presentation and/or in-service, or training, please contact the CAP WSM Team at

Next article:

The “Beyond the Eyes Peer Support Group” is hosting an Open House Networking Meeting on Friday, September 26th at Heritage at Clara Barton, 1015 Amboy Ave., Edison, NJ, 12 Noon to 4 p.m. . All are invited - there will be a surprise guest speaker, door prizes, and refreshments will be served. For more information contact James Jasey: 973-763-6308 /

Next article:

On Thursday, October 2nd (12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.) , the Essex County Board of Elections will discuss voters’ rights and provide hands-on demonstration of current voting equipment and systems being used in that county during the regular monthly meeting of the Sight Beyond Sight Peer Empowerment Group. This informative meeting will be held at the Orange Library located at 348 Main Street, Orange, New Jersey. (Please enter the Library through the Essex St. entrance.) For further information contact Marcus Garrett: (973) 280-6290 / (Refreshments will be served)

Next article:

October 15th is White Cane Safety Day: “The white cane in our society has become one of the symbols of a blind person’s ability to come and go on his own. Its use has promoted courtesy and special consideration to the blind on our streets and highways. To make our people more fully aware of the meaning of the white cane and of the need for motorists to exercise special care for the blind persons who carry it, Congress, by a joint resolution approved as of October 6, 1964, has authorized the President to proclaim October 15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day. Now, therefore, I, Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the United States of America do hereby proclaim October 15, 1964 as White Cane Safety Day.”

Next article:

New Jersey Council of the Blind's State Convention will be held October 24 & 25th, 2008 at Doolan’s, 700 State Highway #71 in Spring Lake, NJ 07762. This year's theme is: "Awareness, Advocacy and Access"

For more information, visit their new website: ; or e-mail:

Next article:

National Federation of the Blind of NJ's State Convention will be held November 8 - 9 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel , 36 Valley Rd., Clark, NJ 07066, 732-574-0100 . This Year's theme is: "H I G H H O P E S" =

* Hopes * Imagination * Goals * Hiring * * History * Opportunity * Philosophy * Expectations * Skills

For more information visit their website: ; Phone: 973-743-0075 or toll-free 866-632-1940 ; or e-mail:

Next article:

The Cultural Access Network of New Jersey, a partnership of The NJ Theatre Alliance and The NJ Council on the Arts have convened a task force for the planning of three regional forums on employment related issues for artists with disabilities. The forums will be presented in April, May and June of 2009 and discussion topics will include: voulunteering and internship opportunities; professional development; assistive technology; marketing; self-employment; as well as employment basics such as auditioning, interviewing, copyrighting and getting an agent. More information on the forums will be provided in a January 2009 "Sharing Information" electronic bulletin.

Next article:

Approved bill clarifies definition of disability - Trenton Times, September 19, 2008

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved legislation Wednesday that would clarify the definition of disability under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, according to U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, D-Hopewell Township, a longtime supporter of the changes.

The bill aims to ensure that the landmark 1990 federal law, in place to protect people with disabilities from discrimination, is broadly applied to include individuals with diabetes, heart impairments, epilepsy, cancer and other conditions, Holt explained in a statement.

A number of Supreme Court rulings have narrowed the interpretation of the ADA to exclude people with those and other medical conditions from its protections, according to Holt.

The newly passed bill, which awaits the president's signature, will require courts to consider if a person has faced discrimination on the basis of disability instead of requiring those with disabilities to demonstrate first that they are substantially limited in some major life activity, Holt said

Next article:

Target Corp. has agreed to pay $6 million in damages to plaintiffs in California unable to use its online site as part of a class action settlement with the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). As part of the settlement, announced Wednesday, Target will place $6 million in an interest-bearing account from which members of the California settlement class can make claims. Furthermore, the settlement requires Target to implement internal guidelines to make its site more accessible to people who are blind by February 28, 2009 with the assistance of NFB.

The retailer and the NFB have agreed to a three-year relationship during which the advocacy group will keep testing the site to make sure it is accessible to blind people using technologies such as screen-reading software. NFB will certify the site through its own certification program once the improvements are completed.

The issue centers on the Americans With Disabilities Act, a 1990 law that requires retailers and other public places to make accommodations for people with disabilities. Target had argued that the law only applied to physical spaces.

NFB is also working with Amazon.comas part of an agreement to make that site more user friendly for people who are blind. An NFB spokeperson said, "There are many retail sites that are at least somewhat accessible but there's more work to be done. We are hopeful we can resolve issues without litigation."

East Brunswick student gets scholarship to Columbia
Home News Tribune, August 30, 2008 -- By Erica Harbatkin, Staff Writer

On sunny days, Sean O'Keefe used to walk with his eyes closed.

The glare from the sun turned his eyesight from blurry to pure white, and he was better off walking in pitch black than intense light.

Now the legally blind 18-year-old East Brunswick High School graduate wears dark sunglasses on bright days and carries a cane in unfamiliar places. He's working on familiarizing himself with New York City, where he'll attend Columbia University this fall to study chemical engineering.

Growing up with two brothers and a sister who are heavily involved in sports, O'Keefe carved out his own niche in academics.

He spent his high school years honing his skills in science and math and spent four years as a "mathlete."

"It's been fun," he said. The he laughed, realizing he has just called being a mathlete fun. "I'm probably the only one who thinks it's fun. But I like how it just works. There's no deep thinking and imagination required. It just works."

O'Keefe is one of four 2008 graduates to win a scholarship from the Little Rock Foundation, a nonprofit organization for blind and visually impaired young people.

The township resident was born with ocular albinism, a genetic condition in which the eyes lack melanin pigment, causing impaired visual sharpness. His eyes appear green, but the pigment is so shallow that light shines right through the iris, causing sensitivity to bright light like the sun. He can see a few inches in front of him, but everything beyond that is blurry or he can't see it at all.

The visual impairment presents challenges his peers don't face — he carries magnifiers for reading, and uses recorded books or a camera that allows him to zoom in on pages and then displays text on a closed-circuit television.

"I just take more time to do (homework)," he said, shrugging off the extra accommodations.

But his mother isn't so sure that's true.

"He's a real intellect. He just loves to learn, but when he does his work, he just absorbs it all," Pat O'Keefe said. "He's not one to pound the books. He can be up all night working on a paper if he has to, but he won't be up all night because he wants get the A-plus."

She thought for a moment.

"Of course he'll probably get the A+ anyway."

O'Keefe can make his own way through New York City with a cane and by listening to the traffic patterns, but he often sits next to a classmate on the bus and has no idea who he's sitting next to. He excels in chemistry but can't see the measurement lines on a beaker.

"I usually just ask others to measure for me," he said.

He'll live in a single dorm, partly because that way he won't have to worry about navigating his way through a roommate's belongings — "I trip over anything if I don't know where it is," he said — but also because after a lifetime of living in a full house, he's ready to live alone.

He's not worried about leaving his lifelong home behind, he says, but he does have one concern: "I just wonder if anyone will take care of the bird," he said, referring to the family pet, Tootie.

"I didn't name her," he added quickly.

"He's probably right that the others might forget about him," Pat O'Keefe said. "Everyone gets him for a month, and I'm sure the bird's really relieved when Sean's on 'Tootie duty.' "

Next article:

Proud Is Proud, Sighted or Not, Researchers Find

New York Times, September 2, 2008 -- By Ohn Mar

After his victory in a judo match, the athlete thrust his arms into the air in an elated V — the universal symbol of triumph, something we have seen other athletes do thousands of times. Except for one thing: he couldn’t see.

The event was the 2004 Paralympics in Athens, the Olympics for disabled athletes, and this athlete had been blind since birth. Similarly, his congenitally blind opponent’s shoulders slumped and his posture shrank in a gesture of defeat — again, something he had never witnessed.

Scientists have long assumed that the universally recognized nonverbal expressions associated with pride and shame are not innate, but rather acquired through interaction with other people. But a new study of athletes at the 2004 Olympics and Paralympics suggests that in fact, those gestures may be biologically based.

The researchers, Jessica L. Tracy, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, and David Matsumoto, a psychology professor at San Francisco State University, examined the spontaneous reactions of blind and sighted athletes from 37 countries. All were photographed during and immediately after a match, and the images were later coded for pride- and shame-related behaviors. (To guard against bias, neither the photographers nor the students who coded the images knew the subject of the research.)

In an article in the Aug. 19 issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers reported that blind athletes’ behavior and gestures on winning and losing were remarkably similar to those of sighted athletes.

Nonverbal expressions for pride — like an expanded chest, a tilted head and raised hands — are seen among primates, 4-year-olds and individuals from isolated and preliterate communities, suggesting that this behavioral attribute is universal, the researchers said. A diminished posture and slumped shoulders, by contrast, display submissiveness.

“These findings raise the possibility that pride and shame behavioral responses may be human universals, evolved to serve unique adaptive functions,” the researchers wrote.

While the study on congenitally blind subjects suggests that such demonstrations arise from inborn traits, the reactions of the sighted athletes did show that culture and society can have an influence.

Sighted contestants from individualist nations, like those in North America and Western Europe, displayed significantly lower shame response than the others, the researchers said, perhaps because of cultural norms that stigmatize shame.

Sighted athletes from Asian countries and blind athletes were more likely to display shame. But over all, the researchers wrote, “in almost all cases pride-relevant behaviors were shown to a greater extent in response to winning than losing within each culture group.”

Next article:

Rewarding work

Asbury Park Press, September 19, 2008 -- By Linda Walls, Correspondent

In many ways, Hope Woods Labradoodles in Barnegat is a pay-it-forward-type operation. Three co-workers at the dog breeding, raising, and training enterprise — all previously jobless because serious disabilities and an unaccommodating marketplace limited their employment options — now train labradoodle puppies that may well, in turn, become companions for others with disabilities.

The trio's assignments at the facility include feeding, walking, socializing and teaching basic commands — come, sit, stay, heel — to young, rambunctious canines.

"It's a real job, with real wages and not a sheltered workshop," stressed Theresa Urban, co-owner with her husband, Stephen, of the home-based Hope Woods, where they raise and breed Australian labradoodles.

The dogs, a combination of Irish water spaniel, Labrador retriever, cocker spaniel and French poodle, were bred to serve as therapy dogs, she said. They readily learn to maneuver around canes and crutches, and to not become startled by tics or other rapid, uncontrolled movements. But Hope Woods was established, five years ago, primarily to create "jobs with a chance to succeed" for the Urbans' daughter Angela and others with disabilities, Theresa Urban said.

Angela Urban, 25, has spinal bifida — a developmental birth defect of the spinal cord — and is "on the edge, developmentally," her mom said. "I wanted her to have a job where she had to think and be physically active and not become bored," Theresa Urban, 52, said. "Her only other option was a sheltered workshop where she'd be sitting all day doing mundane piece-work."

Her daughter wears braces and uses crutches to assist weakened legs. "The worst thing she could do is sit all day," Theresa Urban said.

Barnegat resident Steve Von Specklesen, who is autistic and one of Hope Woods first employees, was hired during his last year in high school five years ago.

"He's made dramatic changes," Theresa Urban said. "At first he only used one-word sentences with us and now he demonstrates he has opinions, and expresses them here and at home."

"I had one other job," said Von Specklesen, 26, during a puppy-walking exercise in the Urbans' back yard. "I worked at a variety store on Long Beach Island; they had balls and chairs."

People with autism tend to be especially sensitive to sensory stimulation, so cleaning-up after the animals presented a significant hurdle for Von Specklesen, Theresa Urban said. "The first time he had to scoop up poop he got some on him and he ran around the grounds screaming," she said.

The labradoodles also are helping Von Specklesen learn about play, she added. "One of the hardest things for autisitic kids is to learn to play with dogs, because it's not natural to them. It's easier for them to teach a dog to heel, because it's repetitive and regimented. But dogs love to play."

Matty Louk, 30, who is legally blind, joined the Hope Woods crew two years ago. "There are a lot of wonderful people here and all the dogs are actually pretty amazing," he said. "It's a wonderful work experience for those who might not find work elsewhere."

Louk had been employed briefly at a fast-food restaurant but was let go after the tasks became increasingly complex. Theresa Urban said following that experience, he sat alone in his Toms River apartment for 2 1/2 years.

"Business is hard. If they can't multitask, there is nothing for them," she said, adding she recruits employees whose abilities place them in between sheltered workshops and fast-food establishments.

The facility's workers also get the opportunity to nurture, to hold and cuddle 5-week-old puppies and bottle-feed large litters. Citing that some disabled people never have children of their own, "this population never gets to nurture, and no one ever thinks of that," Theresa Urban said.

She also brings young puppies to visit disabled children at the Alpha School in Lakewood, where she works as school nurse, "for the same reason," she said.

The birthing, or whelping room, for puppies is in the Urbans' house. The dining room — currently housing 12 crates — serves as a dog bedroom in rainy or cold weather.

"When it's cold out, all the dogs come inside," Theresa Urban said. Training space and more crates are available in an attached garage. And the kitchen island at times doubles as a grooming table.

In the summer, Hope Woods hires high school students with disabilities, including Brick Memorial High School sophomore Mickey D'Andrea, who has Tourette syndrome and obsessive compulsive disorder.

"This summer, Mickey worked from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with others who accepted his differences as he accepted theirs, along with about 15 dogs that never judged anyone but were always ready with plenty of kisses," said his mom Eileen D'Andrea.

"My son came out of the experience walking taller, more confident and independent."

"No one here is special; we're all the same," said Grace Moore of Toms River, one of Hope Woods' nondisabled employees. "We all just come to work."

Last article: Many employers are using the internet locate potential employees. Your skills may get you in the door, but, your people skillswill seal the deal. How you communicate with others including what you send in writng is very important. Here are some Business E-Mail Etiquette Tips: (From Ravenwerks Business Best Practices) Address and sign your e-mails even though that is already included in the "To" and "From" sections, remember you are communicating with a person, not a computer. Make the subject line specific. Think of the many messages you've received with the generic subject line, "Hi" or "Just For You". Don't forward messages withprior recipients' addresses and delete extraneous information or comments. When replying to a questions, only copy the question into your e-mail,then provide your response. Also don't reply with bare messages such as "Yes." , which may be confusing to the reader. DON'T TYPE IN ALL CAPS. IT IS TOO INTENSE, and it may give the reader (especially a potential employer) the impression that you are too lazy to type properly. Business realted e-mails are considered formal correspondence and standard writing guidelines still apply. Pamela L. Gaston Department of Human Services Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired 153 Halsey St. 6th. Flr. P.O. Box 47017 Newark, NJ 07101 Office: (973) 648-6149 Cell: (973) 900-2564 Fax: (973) 648-2043